Did Pi Find God? A introspection on The Life of Pi

Did Pi Find God? A introspection on The Life of Pi June 11, 2024

LIFE OF PI – Ang Lee – 35th Mill Valley Film Festival (8121136223).jpg Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Elevated Spiritual Plain through the onset of trauma

When watching Life of Pi, you feel as though swept away into a new and exciting plain of existence. It felt like an elevated spiritual journey more than a simple film about a sunken ship and the story of survival that followed. The raw trauma that Pi endured directly from this tragedy caused him to develop a new story, which is how I perceived as a way to process his grief, pain and loss.

I feel that anytime we go through a severely traumatic experience, sometimes our mind will black out the worst parts and recreate it. I have explored the themes of trauma and how we recreate our grief into stories with my essay on Jenny from the series The L Word here.

Sometimes, our brain picks out some aspects and adds different elements. All of this to say, like huge distressful events in our lives, I feel this is one of most spiritually impactful films I’ve ever seen. Yann Martell wrote Life of Pi, the pining writer who retells the epic and sad story of Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, as a way to express the search for God.

Redirecting your life with a story

Martell gives us a better understanding of his process, as he felt he needed to redirect his life and found that writing this novel supported this need. The origin of this fictional tale started in a coffee shop wherein Martell met a man named Francis Adirubasamy. This man started by grabbing Martell by the gut and heartstrings, (in my opinion) by stating he had a story that would make him believe in God. This line alone truly gives me a strange sense of belonging and hope.

The three points of the novel, according to Martell:

Life is a story”; “You can choose your story”; “A story with God is the better story”.[26] Reviewer Gordon Houser suggests that there are two main themes of the book: “that all life is interdependent, and that we live and breathe via belief.”[27]

We are swept away by the dangerous actions of a tiger and a man lost at sea, the endless wager of life and death. It becomes so raw and truly close to the teeth, it is a truly horrific yet inspiring struggle.

Not saying Goodbye

The end is so good I don’t even want to spoil it. Truly, it is a toil of messy and relatable art and I will say that when choosing between the tiger and the truth, the lines get blurred and transit into something meaningful and truly healing. Under the surface of something so brutal with such a deep loss, the way he aligns his human anger with the tiger—-the way they don’t say goodbye feels like a double-edged sword.

When Pi acknowledged his very real anger, and finally came to terms with it, the well of sadness came gushing into him. The pain was agony, I could feel it truly was the last bit of trauma he needed to unleash before healing.

I feel that when the tiger doesn’t turn around to say goodbye to him after they make it to safety feels like a betrayal yet at the same time, it feels like a cathartic run that leaves you exhausted to the bone, yet introspective to your strength during the struggle.

Going with God No matter what

So it truly leaves me to believe, that through the trauma and the loss, we always choose the story that feels like we are working with God rather than against. Being with God through the worst times is a human experience of raw emotions. It is not some easy test of prayer during the moment, but showing your fragility, testing your anger through going through the reasons why you are suffering and allowing God to go with you the entire time.

About Melissa Ingoldsby
Melissa Ingoldsby is a published author of the crime drama novel The Half Paper Moon and the horror/romance novel I am Bexley. She lives in the Saint Louis region and is a boy mom of three, with many different publications of poetry, novels and short stories on the online platform Vocal, Patheos, Amazon, Resurgence Novels, JMS Books and Golden Storyline Books. She enjoys film, animation, art and literature of many varieties, including horror, science-fiction, fantasy, romance, dark comedy, entomology and non-fiction. You can read more about the author here.

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